We haven’t covered much poetry on this site (to be fair there isn’t much demand) but i was astonished to find that the enfants terrible of French poetry lived round the back of St Pancras in the 1870s at 8 Royal College Street. It was a pretty grubby place then, but Rimbaud and Verlaine were a pretty grubby pair, according to Wikipedia:
‘During their time together they led a wild, vagabond-like life spiced by absinthe and hashish.They scandalized the Parisian literary coterie on account of the outrageous behaviour of Rimbaud, the archetypical enfant terrible, who throughout this period continued to write strikingly visionary verse. Rimbaud’s and Verlaine’s stormy relationship took them to London in September 1872, Verlaine abandoning his wife and infant son (both of whom he had abused in his alcoholic rages). Rimbaud and Verlaine lived in considerable poverty, in Bloomsbury and in Camden Town, scraping a living from teaching and an allowance from Verlaine’s mother. Rimbaud spent his days in the Reading Room of the British Museum where "heating, lighting, pens and ink were free."
Graham Henderson of Poet in the City is running a campaign to turn 8 Royal College Street into a cultural venue – especially given the huge numbers of French people one now bumps into in cafes in the area (mainly looking disappointedly at their coffee cup i find) Read about it here at 3am, here at Poet in the City or drop Graham an email here if you feel you can help.
We are always interested in other bits of Kings Cross literary history (non harry Potter) – drop me a line